With most of us stuck at home among the piles of dirty laundry and long lists of house projects, dreams of a magical getaway fill our minds.
Travel bans have ceased vacations for people all over the world until the novel coronavirus slows its death toll.
But what about those who were already on a luxurious getaway when the pandemic hit?
You can come, but you can’t leave
Following the announcement of travel restrictions from countries all over the globe, travelers scrambled to get a last minute flight home to avoid being stuck on foreign soil.
For one couple who were on their honeymoon, the reality of getting back home to South Africa was impossible…at least for the time being.
Olivia and Raul De Freitas had decided to honeymoon at the five-star Cinnamon Velifushi Maldives resort on one of the thousands of tiny islands that make up the nation of Maldives.
Scattered across the Indian Ocean, these idyllic islands are paradise – the grass is green, the sand is white, and the water is crystal blue.
If you had to be stuck anywhere in the world, this would be the place.
Just like the bungalows in Bora Bora where the celebrities frequent, the luxe bungalows overlooking a perfect ocean view couldn’t be more romantic for a honeymoon to remember.
Vacations are meant to have an end-date
The couple made their safe arrival to the exotic island on Sunday, March 22, according to the New York Times, and had planned on staying for six days.
It was already a big splurge to vacation at such a luxurious resort (where rates begin at $750 a night) for this teacher and butcher—but you only honeymoon once, right? Well, hopefully.
Ms. De Freitas did admit the holiday “was an extravagance,” the New York Times reported, but thought it would be a great launch to their marriage, considering they did not live together before their vows.
As news of the coronavirus had begun to catch media attention, the couple’s travel agent assured them it would not affect their travel plans and all South African citizens would be allowed to return home.
Turns out you cannot trust a travel agent to provide you with future government regulations.
Stranded in paradise
By the time the couple received word that their country would be closing airports, it was too late to begin the five hour flight to Doha, Qatar, followed by a three hour layover, then a nine hour flight to Johannesburg.
So they decided to stay.
And why not? They had the waitstaff, bell boys, and chefs all to themselves—they were the only ones left at the resort after the pandemic was declared!
And the South African Consulate in the Maldives, along with the South African Embassy in Sri Lanka, did not have much to offer the permanent honeymooners.
A charter plane could be rented at $104,000 and split between the nearly 40 South African travelers stranded in the Maldives – but who has that kind of money, especially after spending $750 a night on the resorts!
As of now, De Freitas and his new wife have since ended their cycle of snorkeling and lounging and repeat, and have been gathered with other South African natives at another five-star resort in the Maldives where they are expected to wait until the borders open up again April 16th.
“Everyone says they want to be stuck on a tropical island, until you’re actually stuck,” Ms. De Freitas said. “It only sounds good because you know you can leave.”
I guess there truly is no place like home, and vacationing during a worldwide battle with a deadly virus is probably not going to pan out how you’d hoped.